Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Hi everyone,

How are everyone's gardens going?  Mine, still not that productive.  We are going ok in the fruit department.  Passionfruit,1-2 small pawpaws ripening up per week, the last 3 melons from the garden and the odd small handful of raspberries from my very poor looking raspberry vines.  I also harvested the ONLY fruit that set off my citrus grove trees that I planted last year.  Yes, I know, to be fair to them, they are just babies.  It was the rio red grapefruit.  I was so upset as I went out there one day and looked underneath and it had a split in it but was still green.  I was debating whether to cut my loses and just break it off and toss it but I didn't want to waste nearly 7 months of sitting on the tree so I thought it couldn't hurt to give it another week or so.  1.5 weeks later and it changed colour with no sign of mold around the split area. Just to be safe, I cut the split out and juiced the rest.  Beautiful dark pink colour in the fruit - exactly what I was after.  Now if the Cara Cara and Arnold's blood oranges could just colour up half as nicely, I'll be one very happy girl.  

In other harvest news, I have started harvesting the beetroot and still have heaps of eggplants and salad greens from the garden.  A little star performer is that chilli bush I got from one of the BLF garden visits.  Heaps and HEAPS of chilli's -> I'm saving them up and when I finally have tomatoes again, I'll try to make a chilli jam.  I may have to start freezing them though as my bloody tomatoes are going to be forever away. 

I'm also now trying to grow shitake mushrooms viva la log style :)  How fortunate that two days after I'd bought the spores and needed to find a fresh log somewhere, the council decided to come along and trim the trees across the road.  I asked one of the guys for a biggish piece and he was very kind and put a couple in the driveway for me.  So I got to use my beeswax as well to plug the holes.  If anyone wants the remaining spores, I will bring them to the garden visit.  

Bamboo stakes are finally ready for harvesting so Zack and I worked together to cut and strip them and get them ready to dry for a few weeks.  I am now self sufficient in stakes... Yay!!!!

I made another 24 labels for the fruit trees.  You would think that would be enough wouldn't you?  Na ah.  I have to make another batch eventually.  I modified Dianne's idea a bit.  Mine are going to hang on the branches when the trees are big enough rather than poking out of the ground.  Too many animals at my place for them to stay safe.  At the moment, if the tree is small, they are hanging on fences. 

Here is a picture of the front verge now.  I have planted 3 fruit trees that are quick growing on the footpath.  If the council ever has to dig them up, it won't be too long before a replacement plant will grow.

Finally, I found a black bat plant.  YAY!! I have potted up so that when I finally get the side shade garden done, it will be ready to go in. 

Until next time,  happy gardening people.

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Comment by Jacqui on April 19, 2016 at 9:45

A black and white, now that will look amazing. I must admit I’m not a very sunny person, I really love blue, black and white flowers I just plant other colours for the bees and butterflies.

Comment by Susan on April 18, 2016 at 18:20

Hi jaqui,  I got the mulberry as a free tree, I already have another one in the yard, so if I don't get much fruit off it, I'm okay with that :)  Guess what else I discovered.  I told my mother how excited I was to get a black bat plant and that I really want a white one too and she told me she has had one for YEARS!!!! So when I go home next, she's got a little one in a pot for me.   Hi Lissa, my other tree that is the same type as this is very upright growing and quite narrow which is why I decided to risk it.  I got a white shahtoot at the same time but put that inside the yard as I do know they are supposed to weep a lot more.  The Saba nut is very upright and the panama berry, I will try to keep the lower branches trimmed.  If some get knocked off that one, it will be no drama as they are so prolific anyway. 

Comment by Lissa on April 18, 2016 at 5:45

Beautiful grapefruit :)

The problem I found with the footpath trees is that they need to go straight up for a bit (to allow for traffic, rubbish trucks) before they can start to hang out. Is the Mulberry going to be ok with that do you think? 

I have Tibouchina on my footpath and the rubbish truck and passers by take off large chunks of branch if they hang in the wrong place. Came home the other day and someone (???) has been at one of them with a chainsaw. My neighbour would have mentioned if they had done it so I can only think the council guys.

Comment by Jacqui on April 17, 2016 at 22:35

Susan I love your Black Bat, it is so beautiful and mysterious looking. I was just thinking about your mulberry tree on the verge and wondering if you will every manage to get any mulberries of it, remembering back to when I was a kid it would have been just to tantalizing to resist.

Comment by Susan on April 17, 2016 at 18:52

Thanks for the heads up Roger.  I did take out a knife but was very hesitant as I was afraid I'd cut myself so don't think I built up the force needed to chop them off.  In the end, I decided it was safer with the snippers but I  do see your point that the little ends will be annoying.  Thumb has fully healed thanks :)

Comment by Roger Clark on April 17, 2016 at 9:31


Just something that I do, ignore this if it sounds too complicated, but it works for me.

I noticed that when you cut off the bamboo branches, you cut your branches with shears, which leaves a small piece of branch at each cut. I have found these to be extremely sharp and when they harden off can be a bit of a safety hazard.

I use a sharp (old) kitchen knife. I slice the branch off by sliding the knife along the bamboo. If you do this before the bamboo hardens it is quite easy to do. Slide the knife from the top end down, in other words the branches will be pointing towards you, which allows the knife to remove all of the branch in one cut. It will probably not work once you have already snipped off the branches, unless the bamboo is still very green. This method removes all of the branch and leaves no sharp bits to handle later. Good Luck, but please be careful (how's the drilled thumb?)

Comment by Susan on April 16, 2016 at 12:58

Thanks guys.  I was so happy with the colour, it was worth the wait.  Hopefully the tree will put on a little size and give me a couple more fruit next year.  Lol Rob. 

Comment by Rob Collings on April 15, 2016 at 22:44

That's a nice grapefruit and a nice photo of a nice grapefruit Susan. Congratulations on your first bamboo harvest and watch out with those extra, extra large plant labels you have on the verge ;)

Comment by Dianne Caswell on April 15, 2016 at 20:35

Your grapefruit has lovely colour. Doesn't it make you feel good to be able to use your own produce to prepare a meal.

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